Tales from the Trail

Testing their partnership, Obama and Australia’s Gillard disagree on…vegemite

March 8, 2011

They may be the strongest of allies, but U.S. President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard disagree on at least one thing: the culinary strengths and weaknesses of Vegemite.

The president, it turns out, is not a fan.obama_aussie

“It’s horrible,” Obama told a class of high school students on Monday after one asked the visiting Australian leader what the substance really was.

Gillard acknowledged the conflict.

“This is also a little bit of a division between the President and I.  I love Vegemite,” she told the student.

“It’s actually a byproduct of making beer, apparently.  That’s how the story goes.  It’s a yeast paste.  I’m making this sound really good, aren’t I?”

Obama, trying to get the kids on his side, made clear he wasn’t convinced.

“So it’s like a quasi-vegetable-byproduct paste that you smear on your toast for breakfast.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?” he said to laughter.

The two leaders had fun talking about their differences over the countries’ two versions of football, too.

“She brought me an Australian football. She was kicking it in my office. Almost broke a bust of Lincoln,” he said, to laughter from the students, again.

Ah, but he was only kidding.

“That’s not true, guys.  Just making that up,” he said. “I don’t want to cause a diplomatic incident.”

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed ( Obama, Gillard in class at high school outside Washington)

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